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Forbes Wilson​
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In 1960, Forbes Wilson, then in charge of a worldwide mineral exploration program for Freeport Mineral Company, masterminded an overland expedition into rugged and remote peaks of Irian Jaya  (then Western New Guinea), Indonesia. His objective was to locate a unique geologic feature—a huge black knob of ore known as the Ertsberg, first sighted by a small group of Dutch climbers some 24 years before.​

In touch with the outside world only by primitive jungle radio and the occasional parachute delivery of supplies, Wilson and his party trekked for 17 days across almost inaccessible terrain to an altitude of 12,000 feet. He encountered unforgettable country, exotic vegetation, and a simple tribal society—all recorded in his book, The Conquest of Copper Mountain (1981).​

The results of the expedition were exhilarating: measured and sampled, the Ertsberg proved to be the world's largest above-ground outcrop of copper, with indications of a much larger mineral district.​

Forbes Wilson's vision and determination brought Freeport back to Indonesia in 1967. Under his guidance, the project was launched to bring the Ertsberg into production. A 63-mile access road was carved through the forbidding landscape; tunnels were driven through the middle of two mountains; and the world's largest tramway and longest slurry pipeline assembled.​

In what news media called “Freeport's Mission Impossible,” the company succeeded, in five years, in bringing a sophisticated mining operation into production.​

In 1966, Wilson became president of Freeport Indonesia, Inc., a post he held until his retirement in 1974. Today, the enterprise operates one of the world's largest mining operations and produces approximately 5% of the world's newly mined copper metal.​

Born in York, Maine, he was educated at Worchester Academy and Yale University, graduating with a BS degree in mining engineering in 1931. His first professional employment was with Braden Copper Company's El Teniente mine. His association with Freeport Minerals Company began in 1942 in Cuba.​

The Society of Mining Engineers (SME) gave Wilson the Daniel C. Jackling Award in 1977 and, later that year, named him a Distinguished Member for his outstanding service to the mining industry. In 1980, be received the Legion of Honor Award from the AIME.​

Forbes Wilson, a member of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, reviewed his exciting Ertsberg experience at the Second National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in San Francisco in 1989.​